For once, I ain’t got much to say.

Bless me readers, for I have sinned. Its been nearly four weeks since my last blog post. I have no excuse other than sheer laziness and well, the whole lack of having anything of interest to share.

Since my last update I’ve been back with the surgeon and given the all-clear to return to work, which I did on Monday, this week. It was emotional and draining, to say the least, but I’m glad to be back in the saddle. To be honest, I kinda missed the humdrum of normality and the daily routine. I missed being in Dublin with the boy. I missed my friends here too. Despite being in mucho pain still, it was time to return.

As for the girls, well, Lefty is looking mighty fine. Only a few external stitches left to dissolve and she’s all good on the healing front. Unfortunately, Righty is still struggling, but getting there. She’s like the proverbial Ugly Duckling; I’ve got high hopes for her though. Seemingly, the constant pain will continue for another six months, at least. I still can’t exercise and since the surgery, six weeks ago, I’ve piled on an unsightly amount of weight. I don’t care though, its all worth it for the new, tiny, perky boobs. Oh and did I mention that the back and shoulder pain is gone. Yup, all gone…..hallelujah!

In other news, I am preparing myself for an exciting December; there’s lots going on. This also includes a trip to New York with the boy. First trip of the year and our first break away together. The poor guy has no idea what he has let himself in for. He hasn’t experienced my crazy stateside shopping addiction yet. It’ll be quite the test, I’m sure.

Soon after that I have my sisters wedding; two days after Christmas actually. All I have to do now is find the perfect gúna to wear on the day. I’m hoping NY helps me out on that front.

10 responses to “For once, I ain’t got much to say.

  • Liz

    Hi Julie
    Thanks so much for the story in the Irish Times yesterday.
    It was great to read it. I identified so much. Many similarities.
    I’m going in for the operation in Galway clinic next Tuesday, so I’m nervous but excited at the idea of being lighter. Your story has sobered me up, I wasn’t aware it would be so severe afterwards. I’m told all I’ll need are paracetemol after a day or two. I was giving myself two weeks to recuperate fully before returning to study. Not leaving the house or anything but working on research at home. It’ll be interesting to see. It’s so good to read your story.

    • juleser

      Hi Liz,

      Apologies for the delayed reply. Things have been a little crazy since the article appeared in the Times. I’ve been overwhelmed by the feedback.
      I’m delighted to hear that you found my story helpful; that was the whole idea behind me doing the interview. I found it very difficult to find any first-hand advice & information on the procedure from Irish or British patients. That’s why I started the blog too.
      I see from your conversation with Siobhan below that you had some queries re: PJ’s & after-care. Firstly, go with open fronted PJ’s or nightdress. You won’t be in a position to pull anything over your head for the first two weeks. I was fitted with a surgical bra (by the hospital) directly after the surgery. I actually woke up after the surgery wearing it. Check with the clinic if they’ll supply same.
      Secondly, as Siobhan has advised, you will definitely need 24hr care & assistance for the first week. You won’t be able to bathe yourself, so you’ll need help with that. I was lucky enough to have my mum do this for me daily. The woman has amazing patience.
      Following the surgery I was taking Solpadeine, anti-biotics & Difene as pain meds. I would think that you will be out of action for 4wks min.
      Again, as Siobhan said, don’t try to reach or stretch for anything, you’ll only split stitches & do more harm than good.
      There’s a whole lot of detail in my blogs (more than the article) so have a read there. If you have any other queries, please, just drop me a line & I’ll get back to you immediately.
      Oh & before I forget, get some dry shampoo, as you wont’ be able to wash your hair for the first few days. And pick up some Arnica tablets. They’re great in assisting healing.
      Good luck with the surgery. Keep me posted.


  • Siobhán

    Hi Julie,

    Your story and description of events could be a carbon-copy of my experiences; I had bilateral breast reduction, in Blackrock Clinic, probably with the same surgeon, through the NTPF, at end of October. I went on the public list in February and as the NTPF started shortly after, I was so extremely lucky to be fast-tracked and eventually it was done Oct 31st.

    Like you, I was stunned at the level of complete and utter incapacitation post-op. You really really need people there to help you do _everything_ for at least 1 week. But then as the nurses said, I hadn’t just had 1 major operation, I had had 2!! The pain levels were v manageable for me, not really too much of an issue, but as I’d lost over 2 litres of blood and also my blood pressure completely tanked, I’ve been taking a very long time to recover; am still severely anaemic. I hadn’t realised that breast tissue was so vascular! Like you, I had 3.5lbs removed. Like you, I’ve put on weight since, as you just can’t move afterwards, and can’t diet (as result of anaemia) or exercise (as result of op) for another while… but I am looking forward, maybe by 1 year after the op, to be where I’d like to be 🙂

    Am otherwise _delighted_ with results, and have had no adverse problems (have had fat necrosis along scars, which can happen, and daily massage is helping get rid of that. Have gone from about F-G to a B-C and am perky and pointing upwards. Bra shopping is now a wonderfully happy experience! Like you, I didn’t do this for cosmetic reasons, but to remove or at least lessen the unrelenting back, neck, and shoulder pain… I am not there yet (I reckon, when I can lie on my tummy in another few months, some acupuncture or physio will help with ingrained tenseness in those areas, that said, there’s a huge improvement already). But the cosmetic (and corresponding psychological) difference is huge too! Like you, I would recommend to anyone, and honestly, even given the slow recovery, I would do it all again.

    I look forward to reading more of your blog… Good luck with the recovery!

    • Liz

      Hi Siobhan
      Good to hear your story too, I go in next week for mine and glad to hear you are both positive about it. One question would you say it best to go for pjs that open up like ashirt or were you ok with pulling overhead.
      Trying to decide if I need to buy new pjs too…. the bras are so expensive.

      • Siobhán

        @Liz, hi! Good luck with the op… you really will not regret it one little bit – well, being honest, you may, a week or two afterwards, but that’s actually just hormones which will be all over the place for a while afterwards, and the general anaesthetic too will take its toll and banjacks you for about 2 weeks, and you can experience some weird emotions as a result – they don’t tell you this stuff – so give yourself a break post-op and don’t be too surprised if you’re a bit blue. It happens, and it’s not an indication of your choice to have the op!

        WRT pyjamas, I found that I didn’t have a huge problem putting an over-the-head one on BUT (a) it was v loose and (b) I had someone to do it for me, I couldn’t do it myself on my own for about a week or so. So maybe ones that open up might be a good idea. My post-op “bra” (a compression bandage really) was supplied by Blackrock hospital, so I didn’t have to pay for that, but they are expensive enough ok. I had a sports bra that I used once a week while the other one was getting washed, but the compression bra really helps with support and pain relief too.

        A few other things… you will puff up quite a bit afterwards and it will take a while for that to go away. e.g. I went from a 34 (band size) to a 40 post-op!!!!!! Am down to about a 38 now. It takes a while for that to go.

        Also WRT painkillers – they told me to take 2 Syndol 3 times a day for a week. I thought it was a bit much but went with it. Don’t. The pain really isn’t that bad at all, more a soreness than a pain. After the week I got medication overuse headache, that spawned a 5-day migraine, from all the codeine in the Syndol. I couldn’t take anything to get rid of it and it was worse than the “pain” I was trying to treat. In hindsight I was right and it wasn’t necessary at all.

        Make sure you have someone around 24/7 for at least the first week, as you really are helpless. Make sure you cocoon yourself every night in a nest of pillows, and if you can, sleep on your own for the first 2 weeks. For me, the 2 week mark was a bit of a turning point in a lot of ways, in terms of what I could and couldn’t do. And by the time of my first post-op consult (5 weeks after the operation), I was absolutely grand and could stop wearing the compression bra, which was brilliant!

        Also really and truly honestly do give yourself a break afterwards, physically and mentally, as recovery is a b**ch and you really need to take it easy!

        Other than that, you really will be grand, and if you have any other questions, anything at all, please do post here…

    • juleser

      Thanks for the comment. Your experience seems to be a mirror image of mine. I’m going to drop you an email now.


  • Liz

    Chhers for all that Siobhan, loads to absorb! Trying to figure out how to do the post op week. Kinda want to be in my own bed but I live alone. Have some options, so trying to figure out if best to go to friends (or my Mum, long way from friends!) directly or come home and have differnt people coming in and maybe having to organise all that.
    Well have few days to figure it out, good to have the friends support. Due to go under on Tuesday. I’m on the TPF too but still have to buy the bras. Bit freaked too at going into Galway Clinic, it’s a class thing, but f**k that!! That’s why think need new jimjams. Due out on Thursday so this day next week I’ll be one day over it and counting. Funny to have this conversation on Julie’s page heading, for once … I can’t stop now.
    But got to get off line, wrecked tonight, early start in morning. Thanks again

    • Siobhán

      No bother Liz,

      I don’t recommend you doing the post-op week on your own. You’ll be sleeping for most of it, so maybe you could do your Mum’s that week and back to your own, with friends calling in and out on 2nd week? If you are going to be on your own at all, make _absolutely sure_ you don’t have to stretch or reach for anything, so take everything down from high places and have everything to hand. Have lots of liquids stocked up and handy snack foods (you won’t be cooking) and try to beg or borrow your friends/family time to come in and look in on you… you can return favours when you’ve recovered!

      If I’m not speaking to you before the op, good luck. You really won’t regret it.

  • miseliz

    Hi Juleser and Siobhan
    Sorry for delay getting back to ye, I can’t find me way round wordpress yet, at least that’s my excuse.
    Anyway I’m all done, it went well overall, that’s forgetting the bad days! I’m down to a new size cup C. Just bought my first new bra on Friday, so am happy out!! Next goal is to lose the weight I’ve put up this past month of being very inactive, but I’m happy. Thanks for ye’re words of support 6/7 weeks ago
    Cheers Liz

    • Siobhán

      Heya Liz! Delighted to hear it all went well for you! Isn’t it wonderful… genuinely brilliant! Am still also in happy-happy-bra-shopping mode 😉 And weight-loss mode too! Good luck with the rest of the recovery!!!!

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